Council reveals fears that TTIP trade deal between US and EU could impact NHS in Leeds

Leeds City Council has echoed concerns from campaigners that an international trade deal between the US and EU could potentially impact the NHS and harm local contracts.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 13th June 2016, 6:00 am
Updated Monday, 13th June 2016, 12:24 pm
An image of Leeds Civic Hall from Millennium Square.
An image of Leeds Civic Hall from Millennium Square.

The statement comes in response to a deputation that was issued to the local authority by the Leeds Against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) group in November.

Campaigners claim that the TTIP deal could force NHS trusts across the country to open up to American private health care providers, allowing big businesses to sue the Government if British laws dent their profits.

Negotiations between the EU and US over the trade agreement, which centres largely around harmonising product regulation and standards, launched in June 2013 but are still ongoing.

A formal response to the Leeds campaign group’s deputation, which calls for the council to join local authorities in Sheffield and Bradford by declaring the city a ‘TTIP free zone’, will be presented at the council’s executive board meeting on June 22.

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It reads: “The council shares the concerns of Leeds Against TTIP particularly in relation to the potential harm to local contracts and potential impacts on the NHS. Our vision for Leeds is to be a compassionate, caring city that helps all its residents benefit from the city’s economic growth.”

The response falls short of agreeing to become a ‘TTIP free zone’ but states that while the council recognises the positive effects trade can achieve, “we do not believe this should come at any cost”.

The move comes days after a briefing report by academics from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences and Imperial College London warned that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU “would negatively impact the NHS in a number of ways”. The report found that leaving the EU would likely reduce NHS funding and lead to staffing shortages.